Tax increase will be mayor’s Achilles heel

It is time for the citizens of Hope to take back the town and tell town hall what we want and need

We are citizens of Hope – we both grew up here and moved back after being away for 40 years. We love living here, we have family and friends here, love the fresh air, mountains and rivers. How much longer are we going to be able to afford to live here? We have not yet retired but are wondering how anyone on a fixed income can afford to live in Hope?

Our property taxes have increased nearly $2,000 in the three years we have lived here. In 2010, we wrote a cheque for $2,356.17 and this month we will write a cheque for $4,248.3. If taxes keep increasing at this rate in another three years our taxes will be $6,248.30 – that is absolutely ridiculous. What are we paying these high taxes for? We understand that policing costs may go up and we understand that the cost of things do go up, but to this extreme? I think not. The biggest increase when you break the taxes down was in the municipal levy tax. These funds are often used for new municipal facilities, however the proceeds from the levy can also be used for general funds and applied to the municipal budget. The municipal levy for our town went up 34.86 per cent… ouch!

Maybe it is time to cut back on the number of people employed by the town of Hope. Do we really need a full-time fire chief, a full-time bylaw officer, an economic developer, or a full-time town planner? What is this person planning? Do we really need six town council members? Administration costs have gone up, then cut back on administration. The town used to run very well on much less.

It is time for the citizens of Hope to take back the town and tell town hall what we want and need. One of those things would be lower taxes. What is this tax money spent on? Certainly not our streets – the condition of the streets in Hope is appalling – and certainly not on encouraging businesses to set up here as they cannot afford the taxes. Certainly not on the beautiful Rotary Trail which should be closed until it is assessed for danger trees and snags which need to come down so the trail remains safe. Do your kids play in there? It is dangerous and in appalling condition – shame on you town council. Certainly not on the upkeep of our parks, our unkept alleys and embarrassing boulevards. Certainly not on having the town and bylaw officer force owners to tear down unsightly condemned building. There appears to be very few if any tax breaks for businesses or seniors. Young people cannot afford to move here because of ridiculous taxes. This little town is in trouble and bumping up taxes every year is not going to help. It is the only community we have ever lived in where you have to pay for garbage pickup whether you want it or not. If people want to take their own garbage to the disposal site they should have that option. The last community we lived in we were on water metre and paid less for water than we do here. Do the math people with taxes and utilities, you are paying through the nose to live in your own home.

I recently spoke to one of our council people and asked what we were going to do about high taxes, the answer was… “oh some peoples taxes went down.” I wonder who those people are, no one that I know of. I also said that my taxes had gone up at an extremely high rate and the answer was… “oh you must have a nice property.” Yes I do have a nice property. We take pride in our property. I might be better off to raise pigs and chickens in my front yard or have a few old car bodies. These are people we pay to run our town?

In The Hope Standard a few weeks ago there was a question asking if you would be willing to give up services for lower taxes. The answer was an overwhelming yes! I am not really sure what services they are talking about. Yes we have a hospital, but can you get a doctor here? Not a chance. If you call the ambulance and I did once, they got lost. The police are slow in responding especially at night, the roads are horrible and the parks are unkept. So really what are we paying for?

The garbage fiasco in Hope a few years ago when the mayor and council gave away a local contract brought that mayor down. I think the current mayor’s Achilles heel will be the increase in taxes. What would the town do if everyone refused to pay their taxes?

Living in Hope and taxed to death!

Pat Furness,

Hope

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